Community fireworks Sunday

May 19, 2017

Victoria Day fireworks at Birch Cliff PS, 2015

Victoria Day fireworks at Birch Cliff PS, 2015. Photo credit: Sean Mallen.

More than 500 people are expected to crowd into the schoolyard of Birch Cliff Public School on Sunday night for an annual community fireworks show in support of the Bluffs Food Bank.

The event will begin at 8:30pm with sparklers and glow necklaces for children with the fireworks starting at approximately 9pm.

The food bank will be accepting both food and monetary donations to help provide nutritious meals to more than 300 families who visit the food bank every week.

The fireworks fundraiser is the brainchild of Matt Yuill, a Birch Cliff resident and father of three boys, who started setting off fireworks like any other dad, by purchasing some from a truck on the side of the road.

Matt Yuill and his collection of fireworks (mortars, cakes, fountains and candles) for the 2017 show at Birch Cliff PS

“I took them to the park and I wasn’t content just to light them off. I read what each one did and I lit them off in order and it was a continual show with no breaks. And when it was over we turned around everybody else in the park had stopped doing their fireworks and were watching  what we were doing and they clapped,” said Yuill.

That was seven years ago.

Yuill quickly became a fireworks enthusiast. He found a local supplier who mentored him on the capabilities of consumer fireworks and invested $1,200 in a programmable remote firing system, “because I really don’t want to die”.

In 2012, he programmed his fireworks show to music and was surprised when people started giving him spare change.

The next year he invited a small group of family and friends and asked them to bring donations to the local food bank and was surprised when close to 100 people showed up.

“My wife and I decided if we’re going to  keep on doing this we need to be really intentional. And you know my dad passed away years ago but he really invested in me a heart for the hungry.  So the food bank is a natural attachment”, said Yuill, who works as Director of Communications for The Peoples Church and has since joined the board of the food bank.

The popularity of the event has grown and last year Yuill’s fireworks show attracted about 650 people who donated a large amount of food as well as $1,000 for the food bank.

Planning began in July

Yuill started planning this year’s fireworks show in July and said 80 hours of work has gone into preparing for Sunday’s 12-minute and 15-second show.

“They key to any good fireworks show is no more than 13 minutes. You’ll get bored,” he said.

Victoria Day fireworks launching module and one of ten firing modules

Yuill’s launching module (left) and one of ten firing modules.

Yuill’s Cobra firing system includes an audio box that syncs the music to the fireworks, 10 launching modules and a firing module that he loads with a USB key that contains the script.

In order to program the show he studies videos from his supplier, Victory Fireworks.

“Every firework he sells he has a recording of it launching and floating. In order to time it to the music I need to know how long does it take from the time the wick is lit to the time it actually launches. How high did it launch? How often do you get that height? Between the time the wick is launched and it actually floats can be anywhere from point two to one second. So in order to time with the music I need to do all that math.”

This year, the theme of the show is “We Love Birch Cliff” and Yuill will be showing a video of the neighbourhood on a 16 x 9 screen that includes drone footage.

For the first time this year, the cost of the fireworks show is completely covered by sponsors inducing the RBC branch at Warden and Eglinton, RE/MAX Realtor Vanessa HamiltonENI Electrical Services and Fallingbrook Heights Baptist Church.

1 Comment

  1. Leveck family

    A super fantastic firework show! The children get so pumped up for this event.
    A donation to the food bank is such a small token of our appreciation.
    Thx Matthew (and family) for all your hard work.
    The kids and families in your community are looking sooooo looking forward to Sunday evening.

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